Enniscorthy man charged with assaulting taxi driver
AN ENNISCORTHY man appeared before Judge Haughton last week charged with assaulting an elderly taxi driver after he and his partner were refused a taxi on a night out.
Brian Redmond (32) of 1 Fr Murphy Park was charged with assault causing harm to taxi driver Michael Hughes at Railway Square on January 16 of last year.
From the witness box, Mr Hughes told the court of the impact the events of that night have had on him. He told Judge Haughton that he had suffered some ill health, requiring major operations, and had only taken on the part-time work as a taxi driver to ‘ keep sane’.
‘ The scariest thing about that night was that I heard or saw nothing until I got hit in the back of the head,’ Mr Hughes said. ‘As a result of the incident, I’m now back on painkillers full-time. I have recurring...I wouldn’t call them nightmares, but bad dreams and I’m constantly expecting something to happen. My family want me to give up the job, but I wouldn’t do that because I love it. There are times I get nervous on the bus though if there’s any kind of aggro.’
Mr Hughes said following the attack, he was left with ‘soft tissue damage’ grazing and was ‘ black and blue’.
‘I had pain in my head where I hit the wall and a pain in my hand where I had tried to protect my head,’ he continued.
Redmond pleaded guilty to the charge and the court heard that he had only one previous conviction for public intoxication, which went all the way back to 2008 and would not be taken into consideration.
Solicitor Catriona Walsh said that this incident would be a ‘ telling lesson’ for her client, who she described as ‘a law abiding citizen for the most part’. She described the attack as a ‘moment of madness’ and explained that her client had had too much to drink on the night in question, as had his partner. Redmond’s partner was refused a taxi for being too intoxicated and, Ms Walsh said, ‘indicated in error that it was Mr Hughes who had refused her’.
Ms Walsh said that her client was extremely remorseful and had gathered €1,200 in compensation to pay over to Mr Hughes.
‘Unfortunately these cases are a common occurrence in our towns,’ Ms Walsh said. ‘Mr Redmond doesn’t have a huge recollection of the incident and couldn’t believe it had happened. It’s not the way he was raised.’
In deliberating, Judge Haughton said that, first he would have to take into account that Redmond has no valid previous convictions and pleaded guilty at an early stage. ‘This is a serious assault nevertheless,’ he said. ‘It’s a warning to anyone, if you strike out at someone on the street, you don’t know what injury you could inflict. You could face anything from a Section 2 assault to manslaughter or even murder. You just don’t know what the result will be. People can wind up dead. This has to be taken seriously.’
Giving mind to all the circumstances, Judge Haughton sentenced Redmond to eight months in prison with an alternative of 200 hours of community service on the condition that he pays €3,000 in compensation to Mr Hughes. The Judge said that the compensation may be able to provide some comfort to Mr Hughes by maybe ‘giving him a holiday or something’.
The defendant agreed to this and the case was adjourned until October 10 for a Community Service Report and for the balance of the compensation to be paid.